HUNGER STRIKE DAY 5: As pain sets in, strikers feel 'disheartened' but 'resolved'; three drop out
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WASHINGTON – Hunger strikers described increasing pain on the fifth day of their protest for voting rights legislation, leaving some unsure how much longer they'd be able to continue.
"My body is the weakest it has ever felt in my life," one hunger striker, a college student, told Fox News Digital.
"This morning, it literally felt like someone was compressing my chest and holding me down in bed," she added. "That's how difficult it was to get up. Mentally it's been a struggle."
Forty youth began the hunger strike advocating for the Senate to pass the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, a combination of voting bills. Democrats argue the legislation prevents voter suppression, while Republicans have argued that it will open elections to fraud.
Three activists have dropped out of the hunger strike.
Un-PAC co-founder Shana Gallagher, another striker, described feeling "numb." The headaches and trouble sleeping she experienced on day 2 have not wavered.
"It's been really hard," Gallagher told Fox News. "I hope that I will continue to feel how I feel right now and it won't get much worse than this, but I'm really not sure how much longer I can go on for."
"But we are committed to doing this until the bill passes," she continued.
Tuesday was only the second day the Senate convened since the hunger strike began. Democrats are expected to start pushing the voting legislation through the upper chamber Wednesday, but the effort appears likely to fail.
Hunger strikers on day 5 of their strike outside the U.S. Capitol (Fox News Digital/Lisa Bennatan)
"Three [hunger strikers] have stopped," Gallagher said. "Someone's pulse went below 40" and another "fainted."
The activists described the group's morale as "disheartened" yet "resolved," Gallagher said.
Hunger striker describes how she feels on the fifth day of the strike (Fox News Digital/Lisa Bennatan)
"A lot of us are frustrated to have to make this sacrifice," the college student told Fox News.
On the group's last hunger strike, she lasted 15 days.
"I talked to my doctor, and she said I'm putting myself at significant risk for long-term health consequences by doing this again," she told Fox News Digital. "But I have to … I would rather do this again and again and again than live in a broken democracy."
"I'm going indefinitely until the bill is passed," she continued.
Hunger strikers sit on sleeping bags outside the U.S. Capitol (Fox News Digital/Lisa Bennatan)
Gallagher told Fox News Digital the group "does continue to have some hope, mostly because there's such a big group of young people here standing up for what they believe in, and we just hope our senators will do the same."